Bakersfield, Calif., September 6, 2022 — The American Heart Association, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on ensuring longer, healthier lives for all, has named Ken Keller, president and chief executive officer of Dignity Health’s Bakersfield Memorial Hospital, as 2022 Kern County Heart and Stroke Walk chair. In this role, Keller is charged with a $300,000 fundraising goal to support the lifesaving work of the American Heart Association.

The Kern County Heart and Stroke Walk takes place October 15 at California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB). Keller will be joined by other city executives working to improve physical and mental health, combat burnout and promote company engagement. The executive leadership team members include: 

  • Stacy Ferreira, Kern County Board of Directors, American Heart Association
  • David Harrington, President & Chief Operating Officer, Centre for Neuro Skills
  • Derek Jeffrey, Vice President & General Manager, KGET TV-17 NBC/Telemundo/CW
  • Maritza Jimenez, Marketing & Public Affairs Rep Bilingual, Kern Family Health Care
  • Lisa Kreber Ph.D., CBIS, Director of Neurology, Adventist Health-Kern County
  • David Lari, Executive Director, Chase Bank
  • Steve Matejka, Chief Operating Officer, Valley Strong Credit Union
  • Norma Rojas, Director of Communications and Community Outreach, Bakersfield College
  • Kiyoshi Tomono, Vice President Community Partnership, Adventist Health-Bakersfield                           

“I’m proud to join this outstanding group of community leaders who share a goal of creating a healthier future for all,” Keller said. “Advocating for healthy behaviors within our own organizations has a ripple effect on the entire community – and beyond. The Heart and Stroke Walk is one way that we can come together as a community, supporting health and well-being and united for a common cause. I encourage everyone to join us and get involved and get moving.” 

Funds raised through the Heart and Stroke Walk support the mission of the American Heart Association to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives while supporting priority issues in Bakersfield like high blood pressure control and community CPR training. 

The Heart and Stroke Walk is part of the American Heart Association’s Heart Challenge®, a suite of activities and initiatives designed to help companies positively impact employee overall health and well-being. The program is anchored in a series of customizable workplace events that inspire employees to be more engaged, reconnect with colleagues, get in their physical activity, and support a great cause while having a lot of fun doing it. 

To learn more about engaging your workforce in Heart Challenge events, or to join Ken Keller and other area executives for the Heart and Stroke Walk on October 15, visit or contact the American Heart Association’s Kelley Berry at



About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with the local office on, Instagram or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.  


For Media Inquiries:

Kate Lino:

Valerie Koch:

For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721) and